How to Evaluate a Directory for Link Building

Directory submissions still play a major role in most link building campaigns. But how can we be sure that a directory is worth submitting to, particularly if we have to pay a submission or annual membership fee? There is more to evaluating the worthiness of a directory than just the page rank of its home page, as Paul Teitelman points out in his blog post titled Link Building 101: How to Evaluate the Power of Directories.

Paul has outlined seven points to keep in mind when compiling a list of quality directories for link building purposes:

  • Check the Page Rank of the directory – This is usually our first port of call, and can give a good initial indication of a page’s authority. A pagerank of five or over indicates a good solid site.
  • Check how the domain name ranks in Google – There is a simple test to see if the domain has been penalized by Google. Conduct a Google search using the directory’s domain name, and see if the directory appears on the first page of the SERPs. If they don’t appear on the first page, or at all, they may have been penalized by Google.
  • Indexability and last time cached – To check how the googlebots are indexing the directory’s subpages enter a cache query (cache:http://www.thesubpageinquestion.com) into Google. An acceptable cache date would be within 1-2 weeks. A higher frequency of cache dates indicates authority.
  • Number and Quality of Inbound Links – The higher the better. Do the inbound link test (link:http:www.siteinquestion.com).
  • Evaluate Category Pages and Outbound Links – It is important to submit our sites to the most relevant category. If a site could easily belong in more than one category, how do we decide which category is best? Check the page rank of each category page. Generally category pages within directories have little or no page rank, so it is a good sign if the page is ranked. Also check how many listings are in the category. If there are too many, your submitted site will be hard to find. If there is too few, the site may be lacking the quality and quantity of content needed to be considered an authority.
  • Does the Directory have Sitewide links in Google? Conduct a search in Google using the directory’s domain name. Do the results display with sitewide links under their listing? If yes, this signifies the directory has good authority.
  • Check for Appearances at Public Conventions and Industry Events – This method gives a good indication of the reach of the directory. If they can afford to advertise at key industry events then they are obviously a serious player.

Paul’s advice could also be applied to assessing any site for its link juice potential. To read more on how to conduct an Anchor Text test and how such a test can affect your link building decisions, go to the original blog post here.

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